Thirst (1949) - full transcript

In 1946, nervous ballet dancer Rut and her husband Bertil are returning to Sweden from his scholarship tour around Italy. In a Basle hotel room and on a train they quarrel; give food through the window to starving Germans; overhear wisdoms about marriage by Swedish clergymen returning from a conference; and finally make up. In flashbacks, Rut reminisces her romance with middle-aged officer Raoul, her subsequent abortion, and her ballet career. In a seemingly separate episode set in quiet Stockholm during Midsummer, middle-aged widow Viola is harassed first by a psychiatrist, Dr. Rosengren, and then by a lesbian old school-friend Valborg, with tragic consequences.




What do you want?

I'm so sorry.
I got the wrong room.

What was that?

Keep your eyes open.

- Are there snakes here?
- Of course.

- Let's swim back to the boat.
- They're in the water too.

I could spend all summer
here with you.

No rehearsals or ballet shoes.

Very nice, but other duties call.

It's back to the wife and kids

- You're married?
- Yes.

Did you think I wasn't?

A man my age who isn't married
with kids is a failure.

But it's nothing
we can't work out.

I just wanted to see how you live.

Is this some kind of inspection?

- I'm his wife.
- Whose wife?

Whose wife?
You have more than one?

Forgive me.

Is he paying for this?

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Have you no conscience?

I'd pictured you quite differently.

You're not even beautiful.

I don't get it.

I love him.

Don't you have any pride?

Don't you?

A woman with three children
can't be too concerned about pride.

But you should be.

It's known as loyalty
between decent women.

Little troll!

My little troll!

What are you doing here?

Having a look at your little troll.

I see.

Was this really necessary?

People are talking.
This has to end.

Let's not make a scene.

We're civilized human beings.

I want order and discipline.
Go home.

You too, and don't come back!

Pay attention, both of you!

I'm an honest man.

I've never tried to hide
the fact I have two women.

Any healthy man
has to have two women.

There are sly devils with more,
and that's just indecent.

No, two's the right number,
and you hold on to them for dear life.

What are you laughing at?

I believe I'm entitled.

Go ahead and laugh.
My standards are first-rate.

People can say what they like.
Envious cads!

I'm sure she'll calm down.

Trust me.

Are you crying?

I thought I heard something.
What's wrong?

- Go back to sleep.
- Has Astrid been pestering you?

Just tell me.

What's wrong with you?

Can't you tell
from the way I've been lately?

What the...?
Are you pregnant?

- I think so.
- You're not sure?

Yes, I am.

What do they teach you
in ballet school?

A virgin at 20, and not a clue
about taking precautions!

I'm so scared, Raoul!

Don't be scared.
I'm sure it can be taken care of.

I don't want that.

I'm so scared.
Please don't leave me now.

There we go.

No, you stay here, darling.
I'll make coffee.

Forgive me for being such a fool.

Are you leaving?
Don't you want coffee?

- How long have you kept it from me?
- What?

- How far along are you?
- Three months, I think.

- You think?
- Or four.

- Which is it?
- Maybe four.

- Do you think, or are you sure?
- Probably three.

- That can't be. I was on maneuvers.
- Then it must be four.

Oh, really?

So it's four now.

I'm not quite sure.
- Suddenly drawing a blank?

It's impossible to know for sure!

You can't fool me!
I wasn't born yesterday!

The kid's not mine. Whore!



Crying again?
Is it that bad here?

Nurse, am I ruined
for the rest of my life?

A young girl like you?
Ruined for life?

I mean, do you think
I can't have children now?

Who says so?

You know what they did.
Is that what they usually do?

It depends.
You should talk to the doctor.

I did.

Well, then?

I can't get an answer.
He dismisses it.

And so should you, miss.

A woman nowadays can do so many
other things besides have babies.

With your profession,
so full of variety,

where you're both celebrated
and envied, well...

I don't want to be sterile!

Let's bring in a little fresh air.

Are you awake?

I know you're awake.
You're just pretending.

You've had enough sleep.

Open the curtains, will you?
I'm suffocating.

Here we go again.


What's that stench?

I made some tea earlier.
Maybe it wasn't a good brand.

Up here, please!

What an idea,
sitting on a train all Midsummer.

- It was your idea.
- My idea?

Wasn't it?

"Book the train home
on Midsummer's Eve," you said.

"We'll escape
the crowds at home."

You're the man.
You should decide.

- What are you doing?
- Ordering breakfast.

We have to be sure
we can pay for the room.

We nearly starved for three days,
but you wanted this expensive hotel.

You left your hat here
on our trip out.

So it was my fault.

- The money's gone. That's all.
- You were in charge of it.

Just be glad I was.

You should watch a man's face
when he pulls out his wallet.

And a woman's when he doesn't.

Men's tone of voice,
how they go on,

their lack of finesse,
their ugly bodies!

Damn it!

Come in.


- A whole franc!
- He brought it all the way up.

A franc for a paper you won't read.
It's 10 centimes at the station!

Talk about expensive habits.
But no breakfast.

And no nightcap last night.
- You felt better without it.

You'd feel better
without any nightcaps ever!

Are you saying I'm a drinker?

Are you saying I'm a drinker?

You bet I am!

Ruth, I didn't mean it. I'm sorry.

With all your fine upbringing,

you still forget
to brush your teeth at night.

A statue representing
"The Quarrel."

You shouldn't smoke so much.
Think of your heart.

What use is a heart to a dancer
who can't use her legs?

It wouldn't even do as an arch support.

Take care of it anyway,
for my sake.

You're afraid I'll land in the hospital
and run up big bills.


You'll get well and dance again.

You always look
like a tormented animal,

as if I were torturing you.

Always looking at your watch.
It's your god.

And your old coins.

And your assistant lecturer's ties!

But I am an assistant lecturer.

Your trousers bag at the knees
because you won't hang them up.

I'm sure you press them
before you go see your other woman.

- Shut your mouth.
- Bravo!

I didn't mean it that way.

You never mean it.

We were at this until 3:00 a.m.

For God's sake, don't start again!

Oh, I will... every time
you need to lighten up.

Viola wasn't in love with me.

She was in love
with her dead husband.

I was just a stand-in.

That's what you were
born to be, darling.

A stand-in.

Raoul was a rat,
but he was a man.

Besides, I felt sorry for her.

- But not for me?
- You didn't have encephalitis.

I could go mad just the same.

I couldn't just break it off.

How would you like it if...
- If what?

If you broke up with me
because I'm tired and whiny?

Just toss me away!

I don't want to be
your appendix, like Viola.

Viola. What a name!

When you're sweet,
you're very sweet.

It's late.
You should get dressed.

Let go of me.

You've never really cared for me.
- We have to pack.

I'm not beautiful enough for you.

You've never looked better.

So I was ugly before?
You never told me.

The sun has done you good.

It was wise of them
to give me that scholarship.

I see.

You'd rather have traveled alone.

You don't love me.

Have some wine. It might help.

Go to hell
with your straw-covered bottle!

Don't start now.

You've never understood me!

- You're babbling.
- Maybe.

But I'm sober as a judge!

Just tell me
you've had enough of me!

Don't be so docile.

I should clobber you over the head
with something hard,

but I don't have the courage.

- Notice anything?
- Of course.

- Doesn't it excite you?
- Not at all.

There's too much nudity
in this marriage.

You get ready while I pay the bill.

I ran into Peter
just before we left Stockholm.

He said Gullan
had seen me in the sauna.

She thought I had the most
beautiful breasts in Stockholm.

I'm off now.
Don't touch the picnic basket.

There's no restaurant car
in Germany.

A cold shower in the morning!

We have enough left over
for a breakfast

of bread, butter, jam, and eggs.

Just coffee for me.

That leaves two more francs.

There was enough
for a nightcap after all.

We don't have to pawn Arethusa.

What are those?

They're quite valuable.

I came across them
one day in Syracuse.

And you didn't say a word?

Meanwhile we've been eating
at the vilest joints.

- She looks just like you.
- Sure does.

Worn with age.

You know that freshwater spring
down by the sea?

Arethusa was turned into that spring
as she fled from the river god Alpheus.

The Greek invaders argued
that it was the Greek river Alpheus

that made its way beneath the sea

to join its waters
with those of the Sicilian spring.

A fantastic thought!

Why? It could happen.

Pure wishful thinking.
The two sexes can never be united.

They're separated by a sea
of tears and misunderstandings.

We have to pack.

Will you help me, darling?
The train leaves in an hour.

Find me a cigarette, will you?
I haven't had one in 15 minutes.

How wonderful
to be back on the road again!

With you.

Our home for two days.
It's splendid!

I'd like to live this way always,
on wheels.

Can't you stand a little heat?

By all means relax
and make yourself at home.

Will you put the flowers in water?

They'll brighten up our rolling home.

No, this suitcase should go there
and that one there.

And I want to sit there.

No, it was better over here.

It's my bad knee, you see.

You think my skirt will be wrinkled
when we get to Stockholm?

What time is it?

Why aren't we moving?

Can you open the window?
It's stifling in here!

Shall I help you?

It's that simple.

I'm proud of you.

You should be.

The fact we're here,
on our way home in one piece,

is certainly not your doing.

Whose is it then?

So you've been out seeing the world?

Yes, we've been out seeing the world.

I see.
On your way back from Italy?

Verona, Bologna,
Florence, Venice, the Lido,

Capri, Messina, and Syracuse.

I see. We're headed
that way ourselves.

The train there
and the plane back,

to waste as few vitamins
as possible.

So you've bought
your plane tickets back, Lieutenant?

- Yes.
- That's wise.

We flew out, and then there's
no choice for the return.

This express is called
"The Return."

Wasn't it hard to leave the children?
Raoul being so fond of them and all.

They're very happy
in their boarding house.


Yes, well...

Our regards to Stockholm!

- Our regards to Italy!
- You're such a fool.

An uncomfortable silence
fell upon them...

I know who you're thinking about.

You're thinking about your cast-off,

so you think I'm getting revenge...

By thinking of your old lover.
Well, aren't you?

- I don't think so.
- I think you are!

Damn! I left the newspaper
in the hotel room.


See you in a while.

"Midsummer days,
oh, delightful season of lilacs."

And violets. It's always Viola.
Strindberg's The Journey to Town.

Strindberg's Trinity Night.

And it's lilacs and peonies,
not Viola.

"Oh, season of lilacs...

the white ones above all,

that whisper and smell as before

of youth, of hope, and of love."

Your husband? I understand.

My dear husband
has been here for 15 years.

Just inside Gate 9.
The soil is nice and dry there.

It's quiet here today.
Not one of their busy days.

But Christmas,
Easter, and Pentecost...

if the weather's not too nice,
then it's busy.

But Midsummer is completely dead.

There's a burial at 3:00.
I'm thinking of...


The doctor called
to say he's on his way.

He was held up at the asylum.

- What are you doing here?
- Isn't it obvious?

On Midsummer's Day?
You're here to watch me.

Come on, lady.
Try a bit of humor.

Do I look like I'm mixed up
with those loonies?

You flinch at my slightest movement.
Why is that?

Funny you should ask.

Someone put their arm
through the glass this morning.

They should use
shatterproof glass around here.

I almost felt like doing the same
a moment ago.

There's nothing wrong with me.
I've been ill with encephalitis.

Let me have a light.

Hurry up and finish there.

Miss! Miss!

The doctor's here.

- How is she?
- She's still lying down.

That's a good sign.
Loss of blood?

Negligible. Pulse is weak.

- Has she said anything?
- Yes. I took some notes.

Let's hear.

"It's blood, Henrik.
Take those knives away.

It's so dark.
I can't see the path. Ugh!"


- That is, she tried to...
- I see.

"Dad, warm me up.
Quick, the leggings.

There are wet marks on the floor.

A bridge of light.
I walk onto it."

- What was that about "Dad"?
- "Dad, warm me up."

That's something.

Well, what have we here?

Don't you recognize me?
I'm Dr. Rosengren.

Your little mishap occurred
in my office.

That's a good sign.

Go on. Have a good cry.

I'll help you build
a strong new personality.

Do we dare let her go home?
No, better not.

Dr. Hjertén? Rosengren here.

I have a melancholia religiosa,
complicated by a lesion

to the radial artery
from the windowpane here.

Can you take her
over the weekend?


Take her over there.

Mrs. Garelli.

- Do you have plans for Midsummer?
- What about you?

I'll be at my chalet,
writing my book.

Liberating Imagination.

Come with me.

Come away
and break up a marriage.

Do something worthwhile.

Help yet another sleepwalking couple
wake up from their illusions.

I'd like to shatter your illusions.

- About my marriage?
- You said it.

You open
with an all-out attack today.

My marriage was very happy.

That's an illusion you cling to.

You never loved your husband
until after he died.

You've spun a coat of armor
around your marriage.

Your whole life has been
one long mistake.

Admit it.

A neglected childhood,
a foolish marriage, twisted liaisons.

Wake up, woman.

I am awake.

Of course,
you could stop seeing me.

"Patient jumps up
from operating table,

intestines hanging out."

Must be a problem
with the anesthetic.

I feel awfully awake!

You're clever, Doctor.
That was close.

- I feel very sorry for you.
- You don't mean that.

You're not a good man.
Your kindness is just a sham.


I replace kindness with imagination.

Liberating Imagination.
You have no imagination!

You've never lived!

You know nothing about life
and therefore about suffering!

All you do is think!

- You smoke too much.
- My last lover nagged me too.

"Think of your heart," he said
and married a dancer.

That's how much
he thought of my heart!

How do you know that's true?
I could tell you any story I like.

You're full of wiles.
You really are troublesome.

It makes my work
so much more difficult.

Sure, you talk quite a lot.

But in fact you say nothing.

What are you holding back?

What are you keeping from me?
Just be normal.

Talk and let it out any old way.
Don't worry about the form.

I'll sort through it,
straighten the strands,

and provide assistance.

You need someone.
Otherwise you'll perish.

You have me.

I'll never abandon you.
I'm your friend.

More than that...

depending on how things develop.

I don't want anyone standing
in my place when you cry.

You do cry,
although never with me.

Don't deny me your tears.

Follow my path.
Let go of your own self.

Give yourself to me
and I'll deliver you.

I'm always at hand.

You're clever.

You call that giving?
To stand there and wait for the shock.

You'll never see my tears!

I won't put them on display!

What is it you can't bear?

The fact you're fond of me?

Try to understand:

The main thing isn't to be loved,
but to love.

I'll put up no resistance.
Love me.

You may...

and you will.

- You need psychoanalysis yourself!
- I'll carve out your real self.

I'll plow your virgin soil.
- You will not plow my soil!

I'm God's representative on earth.

You shouldn't be treating people!

Not everyone can resist like me.
I'm leaving!

I forbid you to leave
in this condition.

I won't be coming back.
I realize now that I'm well.

- I don't think so, my dear.
- Oh, no?

What would you know?
You don't even have a license!

You belong with the incurables.

You'll have a breakdown
any day now

and end up at the asylum,
as they all do.

Dr. Rosengren.

What are you up to
with the dames, huh?

See ya.

Be careful you don't catch a cold.

What are you supposed to do
in this heat?

Now I know how ruins feel.

Sterile and blank-eyed
amid lush nature.

That's me in a nutshell.

Is this okay?
- Perfect.

What are you reading?

I love how you look so wise
engrossed in a book.

Filing and reading.

Tell me something about coins.

How can you study art, anyway?

You have no idea how it's created.

The stab of pain...
what do you know of that?

You tell me about it day and night.

A butterfly brings
no joy to your heart,

but a coin gets you aroused.

Dear boy,
don't listen to the things I say!

You know how I get when I'm tired.
- Of course I do, dear.

I'm so anxious about the future.

Stop that!

You mustn't make
such violent gestures.

Feel how my heart's pounding.

Maybe I should have a little wine.

You too. I don't want to be
the only one with a glass.

Hi there.
Would you like some chocolate?

Another piece?
- Yes.

- Do you like me?
- No.

- Not at all?
- No.

- And now?
- Say thank you.

But you know you shouldn't
accept things from strangers.

- Never ask if they love you.
- Thank you!

You're always pouncing on children,
and you're overly sensitive.

Easy for you to say.

They threw my child in the trash
and mutilated me!

I've seen buckets of my own blood.
Butchers with sharp knives!

"Everything will be fine."
- You have to get over it!

I can't!

They killed something inside me.

Dearest Ruth,
does it hurt that bad?

It's hell.

- Children aren't the only thing in life.
- No?

I should get myself tested,
but I never have time.

You're so considerate.

You know you're fertile, don't you?
Don't you?

I know I'll never forgive Raoul
for that operation.

- You've ruined people too.
- Not to my knowledge.

What do you know?

There isn't a man
who hasn't brought ruin to a woman,

one way or another.

I wouldn't mind a bite to eat now.

Your bad knee.

I'm going to get a beer.

- So do you like me?
- Yes.

- Are you sure?
- Yes.

- You look happy.
- No wonder... Swiss beer!

Good hard stuff.

Here's to you.


- You think they're hungry?
- Without a doubt.

Pull down the shade.
- Pull it down?

No, not that!
There's ashes on it.

I don't think they'll mind!

How can you?
Feeding them like chicken!

They're so busy just surviving

that they have no time
for an inner life.

One could almost envy them.

You're so real, so wholesome,
prudent, and industrious.

Did anyone bother
to make me real?

How often do men
make human beings of women?

In your case it would be
a full-time job for a millionaire.

- But you're a noisy eater.
- It's my adenoids.

Shall we cut them out?

Imagine a pair of scissors
up your nose.

I mention it for your own good.

Would you like some coffee?

That might do you good.

Think of my heart.

Do I look funny? He was staring.

Just your imagination.
You look quite normal, only prettier.

I want you to think I'm beautiful.

There. Caress my face.

Teach me to know it.
Wake it up.

Show me its contours.
Explore it.

I photograph well.

Why don't I get any film offers?

Your day will come.

Put that away.
I shouldn't have any more.

I'll train my voice.

I thought I might specialize
in folk music.

Little songs from around the world.

Little, little songs.

You have such good hands.

I want to sleep.

That can be arranged.

No, not rest.

I don't dare rest.
I have to feel rested to rest.

I'm so tired, and it's so hot.

I prattle on like a machine gun...

because I'm afraid of silence.

I've always known that.

Give me that bottle.

Give it to me! It's Midsummer!

Am I a bad person?
Am I on the skids?

Nothing takes root in me anymore.
I'm all filth and sludge inside!

Ruth, for God's sake!

People shouldn't drink.

People shouldn't drink!

I hate you.

I hate you so much
that I want to live

just to make your life miserable.

Are you looking
for a little brutality?

Raoul was brutal.

You took away my lust for life.

You cheated on me,
with Viola and maybe others.

You're no saint yourself.

I always told you everything...

but you forgot to tell me.

You led me to believe
you were the noblest man on earth.

It's my cursed fate
to always meet hysterical women.

It's my cursed fate
to play the nurse,

and I've had enough.

- You want a divorce!
- Stop shouting! People can hear!

I don't give a damn!

I'll never leave you.

We're joined together,
like prisoners in chains.

Forgive me while I laugh
good and loud!

I don't want a divorce.

You're too cowardly to say it.

I love you.

To hell with you and your coins
and your cold eyes!

No... that was mean.

I didn't mean anything by it.

I'll probably never learn to sing.

"...and see only distress
and darkness and fearful gloom...

and they will be thrust
into utter darkness."

What's wrong? You feel sick?

Leave me alone!

To me, ballet isn't a profession.

It's my second home,
more real than my actual home.

I started early.

I can see it all now.

The rosin box you dab your shoes in
so you don't slip.

Pavlova's foot and ankle,
the crushing ideal.

The big mirror
that mercilessly exposes

what little soul
and technique you have.

The eternal tinkling sound
of the piano.

One and two

and three and four...

Chin up and smile, Blomgren.
Once more.

Don't blubber.
You're not joining the theater.

A dancer must be tough.

Leave her alone.

What's this nonsense, Valborg?

Leave Ruth alone or I'll quit.

The star has spoken.

Seems we have
a budding diva here.

On with the class.

Don't let her treat you
like a doormat.

Have a sandwich.

- I've discovered something.
- What?

She enjoys it. They both do.

- But I'm on scholarship.
- Who isn't?

We're on scholarship
because we're especially talented.

The old girls plan to cash in on us.

We had no time for love.

Toy with love,
brush up against it,

but don't get hooked.

Someday perhaps...

when I was too old to dance.

To be young...

sought after...

asked out...

He who laughs last laughs best.

"A woman's only way
to freedom and independence."

I could say
a thing or two about that.

Don't, Miss Henriksson.

I see what fate awaits you, my dear.

It's there as a promise in your eyes.

A slumbering little devil.

Are you girls going
to extend your contracts?

Certainly not.
We're going to draw up our own.

You'd be fools not to.

Fly, little birds, fly!

A drop of port for sad thoughts.

Where did Valborg go off to?
She was the neatest of the bunch.

Her room was tidy as a dollhouse.
She went on a European tour.

She was one of those that start off well,
then quietly disappear.

It was before the war.

What happened to her?

Is she buried
in one of these graveyards?

Or did she marry
some duke or millionaire?

Is she as danced out as me?

Aren't you...?

Yes, I am.


You look the same.
- No, I don't.

You don't look too happy either.

One should be. It's Midsummer.

- Alone in town?
- Yes, alone in town.

Don't ask me and I won't ask you.
Which way are you going?

Same as me.
We can walk together.

It's nice being with old schoolmates
who don't talk about old schoolmates.

This is where I live.
- How nice.

- What's in your bag?
- A pork chop.

Same here.

Care to see how I live?
We can cook our chops together.

That would be nice.

Nice teeth.
You should smile more often.

There's no elevator.

How cozy!

I don't understand
why flowers never last.

- You must have so many memories.
- I won't answer that.

This is our class. That's you.

That's Ruth!

I didn't know you knew her.
We went to different schools.

I didn't know her then,
and I don't now.

We have mutual friends.

I haven't been in a hurry
to look her up.

Please don't tell her you came here.
- Don't worry.

I don't know.

I think I should go home after all.

Are you afraid of me?

Why should I be?

You're beautiful, standing there
with your flushed cheeks.

Let's cheer up.

A drop of port for sad thoughts.

- Quite pleasant, don't you think?
- Yes.

It's bliss to go numb.

I've been through hell.

Every day I go through hell!

Everyone seems
to have exclusive rights to hell.

I'm so lonely, Valborg.

Lonely and dependent on a man...
I know that one.

My husband is dead.

- Doubly dependent, then.
- Yes.

You understand me.
- Don't be too sure.

Let's not get autobiographical.
It only ends in sentimentality.

Men are a closed chapter for me.

I've found the way.

A woman's only way
to freedom and independence.

- I'd like to learn about that.
- Such pretty teeth.

You can laugh without looking ugly.

I think I'll go now.

You've said that
three or four times.

Why go?

Let's open another bottle.

I've already had quite enough.

I'm sure it shows.
- Not at all.

I'll look after you if you get plastered.
I don't mind.

You can always spend the night.
- It's like being at the doctor's.

What's it like at the doctor's?

Something robs me of my will.


- Are they strong?
- Have one. You can handle it.

Do you like it here with me?


Let's dance.


The conference was a success,

but we all agreed on one point:

If we're to reach our parishioners,

we must be less pious
about marriage.

We must admit
that problems occur,

even in our own marriages.

And the solution
is to talk things over.

A quarrel is fine,
but then you have to talk.

My wife and I have had our disputes.

I don't like anyone touching my desk.

She's very sensitive
about her household expenditures.

We've talked it over.

She doesn't touch my papers,

and I don't ask her
to account for small sums.

Everything's in order.
Good night.

- You go to bed. I'm going to smoke.
- Please, let's sleep tonight.

- You sleep.
- This circus has to end!

- What circus?
- I need my sleep!

- We can't go on like this!
- Then go sleep! Good night!

As I've been saying,
talking things over is essential.

I'm going to write
a book on marriage

and how it has
its ups and downs.

Even a clergyman's.
- Very reasonable.

Are you asleep?

It's hot.

Did you hear that?

You're just pretending.

That'll shut her up.

What a looker!

Bertil, are you awake?

Are you awake?

Yes, I am now.

What's going on outside?

I beg your pardon.

This is Mr. and Mrs...
- Never mind. We have no time to lose!

What's going on?

A brief stop to let the police
check the passenger list.

It's unimportant. My apologies.
- Hurry up!

Always in a hurry!

I was horrid yesterday.

Though admitting it
doesn't change anything.

What's wrong with you?
- I had a dream.

No, I was in a trance.

I somehow imagined I'd killed you.

Aren't you going to say anything?
I said I killed you.

I'm not surprised.

It's better like this.

You'd have been alone
and independent.

I don't want to be alone
and independent!

That's worse.

Worse than what?

Than the hell we live in now.

At least we have each other.